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OSHA Fines Downtown Contractors After Garage Collapse

Posted on June 5, 2008

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined three downtown Jacksonville contractors for design and construction flaws that caused the December 6th collapse of the Berkman Plaza 2 parking garage that killed one and injured 20 other workers.

Nearly $193,000 has been filed against Choate Construction, Southern Pan Services and A.A. Pittman & Sons Concrete.

The companies are alleged to have failed to determine whether the six-foot structure was sound enough to support extra weight from concrete being poured on the top floor.

They also were cited for removing critical support or reshoring without approval, as well as a flawed design in the building, and for the quality of construction.

26-year-old Willie Edwards died in the collapse. The father was working extra hours to buy Christmas presents for his kids.

The companies have 15 days to appeal but expect Southern Pan and Choate to contest the fine.  Southern Pan believes the collapse was due to engineering failures.

Choate and Southern Pan are Georgia-based companies while A.A. Pittman is Jacksonville-based.

Under Florida law, the owner of the property has a duty to maintain those premises in a reasonably safe condition for the welfare of all customers.

Expect a lot of finger pointing to go on for awhile before this case is resolved.